Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When seven becomes three hundred and fifty million

This is a brilliant, albeit extreme example of word of mouth, from David Meerman Scott's New Rules of Viral Marketing:

Cindy Gordon, VP of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando Resort, wanted to publicise the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, in 2007.

"Gordon and her counterpart at Warner Bros. chose to launch The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by first telling the exciting news to a very small group of rabid fans. Seven people at the top Harry Potter fan sites, such as Mugglenet , were hand-selected by Gordon’s team, with Warner Bros. and Rowling herself providing input about the choices. These seven (affectionately referred to by Gordon’s team as “the AP of the HP world”) were invited to participate in a top-secret Webcast held at midnight on May 31, 2007.

The Webcast was hosted by Scott Trowbridge, vice president of Universal Creative, and featured Stuart Craig, the academy award-winning production designer for all the Harry Potter films. In the Webcast, live from the “Dumbledore’s Office” set at Leavesden Studios, Craig discussed how his team of twenty designers is bringing together The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

“If we hadn’t gone to fans first, there could have been a backlash,” Gordon says. She imagined
the disappointment dedicated Harry Potter fans might feel if they learned about Universal Orlando’s plans in, say, The New York Times rather than an insider fan site.

Soon after the Webcast, the team sent an e-announcement to their in-house, opt-in email
list of park guests so they could hear the news directly too. Team members also sent the e-announcement to friends and family. During the secret Webcast, a Web micro-site went live to provide a place for bloggers and the media to link to for information on the theme park, which is slated to open in late 2009 or early 2010.

Visitors to the site learned that the
park will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, as well as experiential shops and restaurants that will enable guests to sample fare from the wizarding world’s best known establishments. Because Gordon’s team launched The Wizarding World of Harry Potter through social media—putting fans first—they were able to run the entire promotion in-house, with a very small marketing budget (covering the Webcast infrastructure and the micro-site production) and a tiny development team. They did not hire an agency, and they did no widespread outbound media relations, no marketing stunts, no CEO conference call, and no expensive advertising.

Of course, not all companies have Harry Potter on their team. But Gordon still accomplished a remarkable feat with an approach that most large organizations would not have taken. She told just seven people, and the power of word-of-mouse led to 350 million people hearing the news."

A brilliant illustration of Katz & Lazarsfeld's Two Step Flow Theory of mass communications

See the full document here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Indaba Music - musicians collaborating online

Indaba Music is a music site and community that allows musicians to meet and collaborate with others online.

Founded in 2005, it claims to have 350,00 members all around the world, and is now featuring remix competitions for established artists like our old friend T-Pain, and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer.

In his competition Rivers writes, rather touchingly:

"I wrote this tune with Shusui. Now I want to write the lyrics. Before I do that, I'd like somebody to produce a better demo of the music. I'll pay you $208."

Hear the results (or enter) here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Augmented reality advertising on Brightkite

Brightkite is a mobile service that lets you keeps in touch with friends and colleagues - almost like a geo-location twitter, with pictures. I have to declare a slight interest because I used to work with two of the founders, Rob Lawson and Jonathan Linner, and I'm very proud of their work.

Their latest feature is to offer Augmented Reality advertising on their iPhone and Android apps, using the Layar browser.

From their blog:

"Now, not only can you see posts and photos that you and your friends have left, we’ve added local businesses with special offers for you.

Our first partner has been one of the US’s biggest electronics retailers, who have been piloting the service throughout December – you can see their nearest store and click through to see what local offers they have in-store. We will add merchants slowly and increase the targeting criteria, to make sure that they are relevant and in the right balance to the content left by your friends."

The picture shows how it appears on the screen, with an ad for BestBuy on the bottom.

Good work! As one of my colleagues has pointed out, now you can buy oudoor advertising like posters, but in real time, through mobile.

Friday, December 18, 2009

If I Can Dream - Simon Fuller's new show

Simon 'Spice Girls / Polo Idol's new show for 2010 is 'If I Can Dream'.

According to early publicity:

"Fuller's "If I Can Dream," which is being billed as the first of "a new generation of post-reality entertainment," will document the story of five young people who dream of success in Hollywood. The show will allow viewers to interact with the individuals and narrative in real time, and will be seen live 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.ificandream.com.

The series is scheduled to launch multiple platforms including online, radio, TV and mobile handsets early next year."

10 Trends for 2010

Here are my 10 trends for 2010.

The full post is on Posterous, as my white on black background makes them a bit painful to read on here.

In summary though:

The Cloud
Augmented Reality
Mobile Payments
Asian Influence

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coldplay on Ebay

Starting tomorrow, Coldplay are auctioning off lots of their guitars, keyboards, amps and other paraphernalia from the last ten years, in aid of the charity KidsCompany.

The auction is broken down into 4 different auctions:

Friday 18 December - All items related to Parachutes era
Saturday 19 December - All items related to A Rush Of Blood To The Head era
Sunday 20 December - All items related to X&Y era
Monday 21 December - All items related to Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends era

All auctions will last for 10 days, with the final auction ending on 31 December 2009.

You can get the catalogue here.

(& here are the stats for it - nearly 2,000 clicks so far, in less than an hour)

& here's an easy link to the items in the auction. & to the seller - Coldplay KidsCo Auction

I love how they have photographed themselves with lots of the lots, to help prove authenticity.

I'm sure I can't afford it, but this travel guitar looks great...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mia Rose

Mia Rose is a surprising YouTube phenomenon. A singer songwriter, she has been active on YouTube since 2006, and her latest song, uploaded 2 weeks ago, has had 1,100,000 views to date, with 7,000 ratings and 5,500 comments.

She's got an active online community; for example she lets them compete to design her record artwork.

Citizen Sound give more information here

Definitely one to look out for next year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Media milestones of 2009

I compiled this list for a colleague, and I thought others might also like it, so I've put it here.

I hope that most major digital media milestones for 2009 are included. Let me know any that aren't. (The launch of Wolfram Alpha's been left out deliberately.)

All stories should be easy to find by searching.

Key digital media events of 2009

Jan - Data shows that China has nearly 300m internet users, an increase of 42% in 2008

Jan - Guitar Hero III becomes the world's first $1bn game

Jan - Obama inauguration shows on Facebook, with CNN

Feb - Facebook turns 5, and becomes twice as popular as MySpace globally

Mar - Skittles creates a site that is essentially just twitter search

Mar - YouTube block music videos in the UK, due to a disagreement over rights (This was resolved in September)

Mar - Google Streetview launches in the UK

Apr - Ashton Kutcher becomes the first person to get a million followers on twitter

Apr - Pirate Bay ruled illegal

Apr - 1 billionth iPhone App downloaded

May - Pre-roll ads come to YouTube in the UK

Jun - Bing launches

Jun - Facebook introduce 'vanity' urls - i.e. your name in the url

Jun - Twitter praised for role in the aftermath of Iranian election

Jul - All sorts of records smashed in the aftermath of Michael Jackson's death, inc the video streaming record (& google news & twitter go down)

Jul - iPlayer overtakes MySpace in the UK

Jul - Microsoft & Yahoo do search deal

Jul - iPhone 3GS launched

Aug - Ofcom says nearly 25% of UK households use the internet for catch-up TV

Sept - iPhone App store generating an estimated $2.4bn per year

Sept - twitter overtakes MySpace in the UK

Sept - Facebook declares that it's cashflow positive

Oct - 2 billionth iPhone app downloaded

Oct - Online advertising overtakes TV advertising in the UK

Oct - 'Jan Moir/ Stephen Gately' storm on twitter

Nov - Modern Warfare 2 sells 7.2m copies globally on the first day

Nov - Google buys the mobile ad serving company AdMob

Nov - Murdoch rails against Google, rumoured to be dealing with Microsoft

Dec - Google introduces real time results in search, and Google Goggles mobile picture search

Give Chrome for Christmas

A fun idea to virally spread Google's Chrome browser. (Full disclosure - it's made by Glue, which is part of Isobar, the company I work for).

Go here, and follow the steps.

You can even choose some funky designer wrapping paper.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Most Contagious 2009

Most excellent round up of the year in digital media. Includes a 20% off subscription offer.

Free 46 page pdf.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spanish football fans give blood for the national team

This is a piece of work that's currently happening in Spain, produced for adidas by Netthink, part of Aegis, the company that I work for.

Under the banner The Power of Red, adidas has placed a huge blank Spanish football shirt on the wall of Plaza de Felipe II in Madrid. The Red Cross are also in the square, collecting blood from sports stars, actors, celebrities, and fans,

The more blood that's given, the more the shirt gets painted red. How better to show your passion and commitment than giving blood for your team?

See the progress here - adidas el poder de la roja

Amazing satellite pictures from Australia

Sadly this doesn't work embedded, but click on the link & then zoom in to see what I mean...

Living Stories - Google aggregates the news

Busy Google has just launched this new project fromtheir labs, called Living Stories. A collaboration with the Washington Post and the New York Times (neither owned by News International), the page gives you developing stories in one place.

At present it seems very US-centric (let's see what it looks like when there's a major international story breaking), and it also looks very much designed for mobile devices.

Almost uniquely (or maybe uniquely) for Google there's no search box.

See the video below:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mobile and local

A couple of potentially game-changing local mobile applications.

First, Google Goggles will identify local businesses from your mobile, so that you can see reviews and ratings easily.

Second, Postabon, currently just in New York, shows you location-specific special offers, and ties in with other services like Foursquare.

I believe that one of the drivers for web adoption was that people realised that they could buy things more cheaply online, and I think the same will happen for the mobile web. I recently had a meeting with Forrester in which they forecast the level of mobile web adoption in Western Europe at around 40% by the year 2014 (it's currenly in the early 20%s), but I think that this forecast is *very* conservative.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Celebs on shopping channels do great business

With the whole world (seemingly) going bonkers every day about new developments in social media, mobile apps and all things new, it's easy to forget how powerful some traditional channels are, such as shopping channels, especially in the US.

Exhibit 1 - Puff Daddy on Home Shopping Network

Check out this officially uploaded video of the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy on HSN, selling his Sean John Unforgivable Woman Gift Set. & don't forget to watch the counter on the bottom right hand side - in ten minutes they sell over 2,000 at $55 - $60 a go. That's over $120,000 in revenue in 10 minutes.

Exhibit 2 - Susan Boyle's album launch on QVC

Watch this unofficially uploaded clip from the launch of the album on QVC. Susan Boyle's not on personally, but the presenters do a very good job of selling pre-release albums, nearly a month before it went on sale officially. Again, keep an eye on the sales figures, this time in the bar along the bottom of the screen. Nearly 3,000 sold in six minutes at $20 a go - for an album that wouldn't be available for several weeks.

Great targeting, and great selling.

(Simon Cowell has to be the marketer of the year. While everyone else was fretting over piracy and illegal downloads he discovered and marketed an artist aimed squarely at people who don't download.)

Google real-time search

Unveiled today, including data from twitter, and Yahoo Answers, and potentially to include results from MySpace and Facebook.

It's also availble for the iPhone and Android

Video here:

Live 'within days'. What will this mean for all the twitter search mining companies, and buzz measurement companies..?

Via Mashable

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bowtime for Strongbow

Nice campaign from Strongblow, encouraging user-generated content.

Aimed solidly at the working men of Britain (with ads on TalkSport radio, for example), the campaign is looking for people to say what they do for a living, and how they've earned their 'Bowtime'. They give you music to download, but after that they rely on the users to do the editing etc.

Site here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Send Social

This is a great idea - send a package to someone you know on a social site, without having to know their address.

It works very much like the RSA encryption system - the service contacts the recipient, who has to agree to receive it, then collects a package from you, and delivers it.

I expect this to become massively popular with twitter celebrities! They can now get presents from their followers, without having to reveal their address. Just in time for Christmas.

(If you want to send anything to me, I'm @dancall. Or send it to me at work, come to think of it).

Via the excellent Springwise newsletter

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Send a free Christmas postcard through Gmail (if the recipient lives in the US)

This year you can send a free Christmas postcard to a friend via Gmail. One per user.

Just visit this page, choose a design, fill in your message, the address of the recipient, and Google will post it for you.

Here are some of the designs:

But - a very big but - it's only for recipients in the US.

Great idea, but given that the Google has a massive reach in the UK, and the UK is Google's biggest market in terms of revenue per capita, why not let people in the UK use it too?

See also - Shoot It, an iPhone App that sends real postcards from your photos

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Nike turns twitter red for World Aids Day

Don't quite know how they did this, but if you use the hashtag #red today on twitter, the text of your entire tweet turns red (as seen by your followers). See the @joinred page for more.

It's sponsored by Nike - see here for more - and the tag #laceupsaveslives will also turn your tweets red.

Very, very clever.

& you have to wonder whether any money changed hands...

(The Guardian also has a run-down of events on Facebook and Google)
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